Your kitchen or bathroom looks dirty and old with discolored grout, read through the article to know natural ways to clean your grout.
Here’s all you need to know to give these smooth surfaces a new lease of life – the natural way.
Preventing Mold and Mildew Growth
Kitchens and bathrooms are hot and steamy rooms – which gives mold and mildew the perfect opportunity to thrive. And the porous and uneven surface of grout is the ideal place for this fungal growth to set up shop.
By reducing the moisture levels in these rooms you’ll reduce the growth of mold in grout and on your tiled surfaces. A quick wipe down of tiles after showering or cooking may be all you need to do to keep the worst of the mold growth at bay. You could also open windows, or switch on an exhaust fan or dehumidifier.
Soap scum, which can build up from using conventional cleaners and personal care products, helps mold and mildew to adhere to these surfaces, and allows them to multiply quickly. A regular application of natural products will go a long way toward cutting through this residue.
The Dangers of Bleach
As one of the most commonly used cleaners, chlorine bleach is usually the first line of defense against the mold and mildew that pops up on grout and tiles. It’s also incredibly effective at removing the buildup of soap residue. However, bleach has some adverse effects that go way beyond discoloring clothing!
As printed on the label, simply inhaling the fumes from this corrosive liquid can be irritating to the eyes, skin and respiratory tract.
In fact, a 2015 study published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine suggests that passive exposure to bleach in the home is linked to a greater risk of children developing respiratory illness and infection. The children who lived in bleach-using households were found to have a 20% higher risk of flu, and a 35% higher risk of recurrent tonsillitis.
What’s more, bleach is toxic to waterways and aquatic life – it comes from the organochlorine family of chemicals which are rarely found in nature and which take centuries to decompose.
The Importance of Elbow Grease
To effectively clean tiles and grout (with or without bleach) it’s important to note that a hands-on approach is needed.
While bleach can color mold white so you no longer see it, a strenuous scrubbing is necessary to get the cleaning products into the tiny pores of the grout, killing the root of the mildew and removing soap residue. An old toothbrush is the ideal tool for this, while tiles should be thoroughly wiped with a washcloth or sponge.
Now that you know how damaging bleach is, and that it requires the same amount of scrubbing effort as other products, why not check out some greener alternatives?
Here are a few of the natural products you can pair with elbow grease to get sparkling tiles and clear grout.
1. Baking Soda
For regular light cleaning of water spots, minimal product residue and dust, the gently abrasive action of baking soda may be all you need.
Dip a damp sponge into a bowl of baking soda and use this to scrub down tiles, grout and other bathroom and kitchen surfaces. Rinse thoroughly or wipe well with warm water.
Among natural cleaners, vinegar is one of the most versatile and effective. Its acidic nature means it creates an environment that inhibits the growth of mold, mildew and some bacteria. It’s also fantastic for cutting through soap scum, mineral deposits, water spots and more.
Mix equal parts distilled white vinegar and water in a bottle and spray it generously onto tiled surfaces. Allow to sit for a few minutes before scrubbing with a brush or sponge. Extra tough stains may require the combined action of baking soda and vinegar.
Vinegar also works as a daily preventative agent so be sure to spray this mixture on tiles and glass surfaces before you get out of the shower.
Salt kills single-cell organisms, like mold, by dehydrating them. Surprisingly, in order for this to work, the area around the mold must be kept wet while the salt is applied!
For floor tiles or other flat surfaces, you can rub the area with a damp cloth and sprinkle on salt, before scrubbing into the grouted parts. Allow to work overnight before cleaning off in the morning.
Any type of coarse salts, including Epsom salts, will work.
4. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is a favorite among natural beauty enthusiasts for its ability to lighten stains and skin blemishes. It has the exact same action when it comes to tiles – it is an effective stain remover. Like vinegar, fresh lemon juice is acidic in nature and creates an inhospitable environment for mold and mildew.
It works best when combined with baking soda.
This naturally-occurring mineral is a product of the seasonal evaporation of salt lakes. It is highly alkaline (with a pH of 9.3), which is why borax is so effective at cleaning, disinfecting and deodorizing.
Use borax in the same manner as you would baking soda: dip a damp sponge into a bowl of the powder and scrub until your tiles and grout shine.
6. Hydrogen Peroxide
When all else fails to whiten grout and remove stubborn molds, it’s time to get out the hydrogen peroxide. Typically used for sanitizing cuts, hydrogen peroxide is a fantastic fungicide and whitening agent.
Mix hydrogen peroxide with white flour to create a thick paste. Apply this to the grout and tiles and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to work its magic overnight, before rinsing well with cold water.
7. Steam Cleaning
An incredibly effective method of removing dirt, soap residue, bacteria and mold, steam cleaners rely on high heats and pressure to do their job.
While steam cleaning is great for grout lines and tiles, it is not appropriate for silicone joints, or anodized or enamel surfaces.
4 Homemade Tile and Grout Cleaner Recipes
These homemade cleaners use multiple natural products to ensure your tiles and grout stay sparkling and germ-free. They can all be made ahead in batches for fuss-free cleaning.
Homemade Bathroom Cleaner – used for tubs, tile, grout and all other bathroom surfaces, this cleaner is made with baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and a dash of liquid dish soap.
Grout Cleaner for Tough Stains – stubborn dirt and mildew can be easily scrubbed away with this mix of baking soda, washing soda, borax and liquid castile soap, especially if you pre-wipe the area with full strength white vinegar.
Citrus Scented Grout and Tile Cleaner – deodorize your bathroom and clean it all in one. This cleansing scrub consists of baking soda, lemon essential oil and vinegar.
Whitening Scouring Powder – an effective and refreshing mixture of baking soda, cream of tartar, borax, and grated citrus peel.
Doors take a lot of beating on a daily basis. If you have doors that need repairing, here are some quick and easy tips to get you started…
1. Door will not stay closed
If a door sags a little, the latch bolt will be out of alignment with the striking plate. You can correct a small misalignment issue by unscrewing the plate and enlarging its cut-out with a small metal file.
Alternatively, remove the striking plate and fix it a little lower down the frame. Use a sharp chisel and a mallet to extend the recess in which it fits. If the plate has to be moved only a small distance, drill out the old screw holes and fill them with dowels. Drill new pilot holes for the fixing screws.
2. Fix a loose door frame
Slamming a door will often lead to the frame becoming loose. For masonry walls, make new fixings using three easy-drive Fischer wall anchors on either side of the frame.
The length of the frame plugs, which come complete with hammer-in screws, should be the thickness of the frame plus at least 60mm. Using the correct size masonry bit for the size of the wall plug you will be using, drill through the frame and into the wall behind it to the required depth.
Hammer the screw and plug into the hole until the screw head is flush with the frame.
3. Door that is hard to close
A door that is difficult to close, and tends to spring open, is said to be hinge-bound. The problem is usually caused by hinge recesses cut too deep in either the door edge or in the frame.
Generally, when correctly fitted, the hinge flaps should be flush with the surface of the wood. Protruding screw heads and badly placed hinge flaps can stop a door from closing and even damage the door.
Open the door fully and then put a wedge under it. Clear any paint from the slots in the hinge screws and remove them. Remove the screws from the bottom or lower hinges first, always leaving the top hinge attached with at least one screw until last. Then have a helper hold the door while you remove that last screw.
Hinges may bind because the screws have been put in askew or because their heads are too large to fit flush in the countersinks in the hinge flaps. Remove the offending screws and replace them with screws with smaller heads. If they will not tighten, pack out the holes with matches, toothpicks and wood glue.
Binding can also be caused by hinge flaps that are set into the frame too near to the door stop or rebate. As the door is closed, the face presses against the stop.Remove the hinges, drill out the old screw holes and plug them with glued dowels. Chisel the dowel ends off flush with the recess.
Drill new fixing holes so that the hinge is farther away from the door stop. The hinge pin should be just clear of the door edge. Fill the resulting gaps beside the re-positioned hinges with wood filler.
Be Prepared for Emergencies with A Home Repair Tool Kit
Putting together a basic set of home tools is as easy as a trip to the hardware store. No item in this home tool box costs more than twenty dollars, but having these essential tools on hand could save hundreds in professional repair expenses.
Tools Needed for a Complete Home Tool Set
Hammer – Hammers come in all shapes and sizes but a hammer that weighs about 16 ounces will work for most home repair jobs. Avoid hammers with a checkerboard or ‘waffle’ head, as these are designed for framing buildings. The claw end of the hammer should be curved as hammers with curved claws are easier to use in small spaces.
Screwdriver – Like hammers, screwdrivers also run the gamut of shapes and sizes and come in two basic varieties: Phillips (for screws with a ‘cross’ mark on the head) and Straight. Most screws these days have a Phillips-style head, but to be on the safe side look for a screwdriver kit with replaceable tips. Buy the best screwdriver or set you can afford as the cheaper varieties are made of softer metal and will deform or break with use.
Tape Measure – The least expensive and most common tape measure for most home tool kits is 25 feet long. Avoid those labeled ‘commercial grade’ as they tend to be expensive, heavy and bulky and measure no better than tapes half the price.
Utility Knife -Utility knives have all kinds of handy uses at home, from trimming off loose caulk to scraping stickers off glass. As with tape measures, more expensive doesn’t mean better. Purchase one with a retractable blade, which is safer than a fixed-blade model. Most utility knives contain blade storage in the handle. Buy an extra 5 blades to store in the handle and it will be ready to go for years of use.
Pliers – Pliers are among the most useful tools in the home tool box for picking up small objects, bending things back into place, and pulling out things like staples. This is an item where spending more is worth it.
Adjustable Wrench – Commonly known as a ‘crescent’ wrench, this tool can be adjusted to hold just about any size bolt or nut. Although these come in a variety of sizes, an 8 or 10 inch model is best for the home repair tool kit.
Small set of open and ‘box’ end wrenches – Buy a set that includes 5/16″, 3/8″, 7/16″, 1/2″, 9?16″ and 5/8″ sizes. For light use at home, a cheap set works fine.
Safety Glasses – They’re inexpensive and the pros use them. Safety glasses are especially important when hammering things.
Storage Box – Toolboxes and generally expensive, however a five dollar plastic box is just fine for storing home tools in the closet. Make sure the box lid can accept a padlock if there are small children in the house.
Pre-assembled home owner tool sets found in big box retail stores often contain cheaply made tools that will break with even minor use and are often overpriced. The investment of just an hour at the local hardware store can result in a complete tool kit of quality tools that will last for many years.
Gutters are an important part of a home that keeps the rainwater from damaging both the interior and the exterior areas of your house. If left without maintenance and cleaning, the chances are that they will cause an extensive damage to your foundation and basement. Debris and leaves accumulate on the gutters and downspout leading to clogging. Clogs block rainwater from flowing through the gutters. This causes gutter overflow. It is therefore important to regularly clean the gutters and check for damaged areas that need repairs.
The best season to clean your gutters is during the fall, especially towards the end. This ensures that your gutters are clean as you wait for winter season, where you expect much freezing and melt water to fill your gutters.
Gutter cleaning is quite simple. First of all, you need to check for debris and damage. This requires a number of equipment which should be available before you get down to work.
A bucket that will be used to collect all the debris you remove from the gutter.
A ladder to help you reach and clean the gutter.
A hose that will provide water with enough pressure to clean out the gutter.
Gloves and eye wear to keep you from injuries.
Trimmers to trim off those overhanging branches causing the debris.
Drill and fasteners to help secure the loose area on the gutter.
Once you have all the equipment ready start by removing all the debris and place them on the bucket. This process will not eliminate all the dirt; this is where the hose pipe comes in as it will clear the smaller dirt off. Make sure to start from the downspout so as to make the work easier. As you are cleaning note if there places that may need repair or replacements such as cracks.
Tree branches overhanging the roof are the man cause for debris so make sure to trim off the branches after the cleaning process or as you clean. It the gutter has damaged parts make sure to follow up on the repair and if necessary replacement especially if your gutter has been around for some time.
Besides, you will need to ensure that the gutter system is well-installed. Loose gutters can be a major cause of leaky and overflowing rainwater. All these issues should be fixed during the fall.